Mrs. Laura Bush to Honor Arts and Education Programs for Underserved Youth
Honorees Will participate in a December 14 Washington, DC Awards Ceremony
December 14, 2004
WASHINGTON, DC - Young people from communities across the U.S. and Mexico who engage in after-school arts and humanities programs that help enrich and promote educational achievement and productive lives will be honored by Mrs. Laura Bush at an Awards ceremony for the 2004 Coming Up Taller Awards in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, December 14th. From learning and performing "the blues," to serving as "Museum Ambassadors," to engaging in dance, drama and design as a means to personal growth and cultural pride, those participating in 17 initiatives that have demonstrated special success will be recognized by Mrs. Bush, and each program will receive $10,000 in honor of its accomplishments.
“I congratulate this year’s Coming Up Taller Award recipients for the exemplary work they are doing and the outstanding opportunities they are providing to enrich the lives of young people,” said Mrs. Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Coming Up Taller is an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The President’s Committee partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to administer the program, which was founded in 1998.
The Coming Up Taller Awards recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, and provide them with new learning opportunities and opportunities to contribute to their communities. The awards also highlight the contributions that historians, scholars, librarians and visual and performing artists make to families and communities by mentoring children. More than 300 nominations were received by the program in 2004.
Descriptions of the programs that will be honored are as follows:
The Partners for Youth with Disabilities'(PYD) Access to Theatre (ATT) program has enabled more than 250 young people and adults from the with disabilities from the Boston, Massachusetts area to experience the joys and rigors of theatrical performance and production. Through arts instruction and the process of creating original theatrical productions, youth explore their creative abilities while developing self-esteem, friendships and leadership skills.
The Alabama Blues Project gives underserved Tuscaloosa, Alabama area youth the opportunity to build social skills, conflict resolution strategies and self-discipline while learning about the blues from professional musicians. The focal point of the Alabama Blues Project's honor is its After-School and Summertime Blues Camp, which gives young people from one of Tuscaloosa's most impoverished areas the opportunity to learn to sing or play the harmonica, guitar or percussion.
In Chicago, Illinois, the Albany Park Theater Project (APTP) gives young people from one of America's most ethnically diverse neighborhoods the opportunity to transform the raw material of their lives and the lives of other people in their community into complex theatrical performances. APTP uses a combination of skills workshops, storytelling circles, play development sessions, rehearsals, and performances to engage and educate young people. The ensemble's performances have been hailed as some of the most exciting and risk-taking theater in Chicago.
Driven by the need for a culturally competent 21st century workforce, Arts Street is a City and County of Denver, Colorado program that enables more than 200 young people to discover how creativity can lead to careers. The program utilizes hands-on experiences, core academics, technology, studio art and other arts processes to help inner city Denver youth tap into their creative abilities and acquire valuable employment skills.
In Dallas, Texas, Big Thought is an arts education organization that has developed the Creative Solutions program, which has given more than 25,000 underserved teens a creative and productive alternative to negative and dangerous activities. Creative Solutions gives youth under juvenile court supervision and those at risk for truancy, substance abuse, gang involvement and violence the opportunity to channel their energies into the visual and performing arts.
Located in Valencia, California, the Community Arts Partnership (CAP) is a California Institute of the Arts program that enables youth from some Los Angeles County’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods to build valuable communication, critical thinking, social and technical skills. Through a low 4:1 student-teacher ratio, faculty and students from the California Institute of the Arts develop significant relationships with participants and actively communicate the importance of higher education in pursuing personal goals. As a result, 75 percent of CAP students pursue higher education, compared with only about 25 percent of their peers.
In and around New York, three programs are being honored. Developed by the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, the Arts and Literacy Program engages children in comprehensive literacy education through a full range of artistic disciplines, including video/photography, visual arts, creative writing, drama, dance and creative movement, yoga, the martial arts, robotics and music. Children who enter at the age of six typically learn to read and write within three months, and more than 90 percent of the current students read at grade level.
Since 1968 The Saturday Outreach Program has provided free intensive studio arts education to New York City's youth, echoing the mission of its parent institution the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Combining high expectations with a structured learning environment enables young people to compete on a national level for college admission. Approximately 80 percent of participants go on to college, with eight to 20 accepted into Cooper Union’s highly selective Schools of Art and Architecture every year.
Developed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Regent After School Program provides children from transitional housing an opportunity to interact with working artists and experience the museum’s permanent and special collections while building skills in reading and visual literacy. Serving 250 to 300 children annually, the Regent After School Program gives some of the city’s most underserved youth an opportunity to tap into their own creative abilities to chart a course for productive lives.
Recognizing the need for early intervention to ensure that students from low-income communities achieve admission to college, Eastern Connecticut State University’s Windham and New London ConnCAP Programs offer young people in grades 7 to 12 summer courses and year-round after-school tutoring in the arts and humanities, math, science and physical education, all built around a contemporary theme. For a recent theme around “Synergy,” for example, students studied Tocqueville’s Democracy in America in class, then formed their own government before heading off to Washington, DC for further study of the Founding Fathers and American History.
Since 1982, the Museum Ambassador Program, a Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California initiative, has trained low-income youth to become skilled observers and interpreters of fine art. Through a learning process that includes lectures, guidance in how to look at art, and public speaking, students learn to present informative presentations about the museum's collections to the public. They also develop critical thinking and reasoning skills.
Incorporating a methodology created by Jacques D'Amboise, the National Dance Institute of New Mexico (NDI-NM) annually gives more than 5,000 New Mexico children the opportunity to develop discipline, a standard of excellence and the inner strength that comes with self-esteem. With its Advanced Training Programs, NDI-NM has extended its reach to 864 exceptionally motivated students who wish to continue their training beyond the classroom. By offering year-round weekly instruction and performance components, advanced students are able to reap even more benefits from the NDI-NM training and its uncompromising commitment to excellence.
Created by the Nez Perce Arts Council, the Nez Perce Culture Camp utilizes vibrant Nez Perce traditions and arts and humanities education programs to instill motivation and pride in tribal youth from the Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington areas. The program immerses young people in Nez Perce language, arts, traditions, song, dance, current issues and history to help participants envision solutions to social issues that sometimes accompany reservation life. The Camps take place in August, when 150 Nez Perce youth travel to Wallowa, Oregon to participate in projects that center on a different theme every summer.
Created by the Rapides Parish Library to instill a love of reading in more than 3,000 children every year, Alexandria, Louisiana’s “Preschool Outreach Plus” (POP) service focuses on “taking the library to the children” in its regular rounds to 60 day-care centers. Recognizing the connection between reading from an early age and continued achievement, the POP service delivers themed packages of library materials and teacher resources, and trains day-care teachers on-site in how to create engaging and stimulating story times for their students.
In Quintana Roo Mexico, the Programa de Atencion a Grupos Vulnerables (Vulnerable Groups Attention Program) gives youth from the local Juvenile Readaption Center the opportunity to perform in an orchestra using instruments they have created. Recognizing the economically and socially disadvantaged young people have historically been excluded from cultural and artistic activity, the program gives youth skills to develop self-esteem and become productive members of their communities.
In Chiapas, Mexico, the Desarrollo Creativo (Creative Development) program of Vientos Culturales (Cultural Winds) has enabled more than 5,000 young people to participate in arts workshops to build productive skills. Utilizing a house built by community members, the program offers training in the visual and performing arts and offers public performances and exhibitions that attract some 10,000 area residents.
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) bridges the interests of federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation, and helps incorporate the humanities and the arts into White House objectives. Mrs. Laura Bush is the Honorary Chair of the PCAH.
The National Endowment for the Arts exists to foster, preserve and promote excellence in the arts, to bring art to all Americans, and to provide leadership in arts education.
The National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent grantmaking agency of the U.S. Government, supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent Federal grantmaking agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners.
For additional information, please visit the following Web sites:
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency